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Poster: Spuzz Date: Sep 12, 2004 8:08am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: About Herk Harvey

I guess right about now would be a good time to talk about Herk Harvey, who directed this, as well as 400 other Centron shorts. Probably the best of these shorts would be 'Cheating' which borders on noirish. He later used his skills to make Carnival Of Souls, a classic horror movie if there ever was one.
I'm wondering why he never made any more features after that...

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Poster: LarryvilleGirl Date: Dec 20, 2004 1:40am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: About Herk Harvey

I know why Herk never made another indi film. He lost his shirt making C of Souls. He and several others had put their life savings into the project (an Indi, NOT a Centron film). Through some bad dealings with a distributer, they lost all rights to the film. None of the people involved in making C of S, ever made a penny from it. Centron was their day job. Centron put food on the table (thank god) while Herk and the rest spent decades paying back money barrowed for the film. Very sad story. All part of Lawrence lore.

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Poster: Mr. Date: Jun 11, 2005 8:10am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: About Herk Harvey

At the Spencer Research Library at the Kansas University in Lawrence, Kansas, they have the Centron Collection, which includes all the films ever produced by Centron, plus about 30 or 40 boxes' worth of material including scripts, contracts, newspaper and magazine clippings, and newsletters. A lot of them mention Herk Harvey, including one newspaper article from the Lawrence paper about Herk of Centron being involved in a community theater production. Anyway, I picked out some of the films that Herk directed out of the archive, and my favorite is "Pork: The Meal with a Squeal," which is narrated by Herk Harvey. Also there is a promotional film made for Monsanto called "Operation Grass Killer" which stars Herk as a farmer raving on and on about the wonders of Monsanto. Another film I was able to see was one sponsored by Phillips 66 and starring the Rowan and Martin comedy team. Apparently it was directed by Herk, because there's a picture of him with Rowan and Martin in the boxes. It's a training film for Phillips 66 gas station men from the late '60s. Very cool.

Recently, I also got a chance to meet Norm Stuewe, who was one of Herk Harvey's regular cameramen at Centron. He told a funny story about him and Herk traveling to the Mexican border to shoot a film for Centron. The border patrol stopped them, and told them they couldn't go in with their equipment. So, Herk told Norm to just go into Mexico City and hang out, while Herk called Centron and had them mail camera equipment to them in Mexico City. And it worked! Also, he told me how he and Herk were in Haiti, and Herk sent Norm out to get a shot of a local monument while Herk took care of business in the hotel. Norm got arrested by the Haitian police and spent a few hours in jail, until he talked himself out of there. Then, he returned to the hotel and Herk asked, "Did you get the shot I wanted you to get?" And Norm said, "No." And then Herk exploded in anger and said he'd do it himself. Then Herk got arrested, and Norm had to get him out of jail. Then they returned to the U.S. and heard on the plane that JFK had just been shot. Apparently, that was the trip that Herk went on right after "Carnival of Souls" was released, and while Herk was in South America, the distributor went out of business and Herk couldn't do anything about it and save his film from going underground.

I also met Russell Mosser, the founder of Centron, one time and he was a very interesting person to talk to, although he didn't have much to say about Herk Harvey, but he did say that Centron believed in women's-lib before it even became standard practice, as he paid female scriptwriter Trudy Travis more than any of the men at Centron, except for directors like Herk.
When a cameraman complained about this, Mosser just said, "If you can write as good as her, I'll pay you her salary."

Anyway, I think that Herk did a lot of cool things in his many years of industrial filmmaking, and people don't always realize that there was a lot more to his career than "Carnival of Souls."

This post was modified by Mr. on 2005-06-10 08:38:05

This post was modified by Mr. on 2005-06-11 15:10:52

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Poster: Elijah McGinnis Date: Oct 14, 2005 5:02am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: About Herk Harvey

Did you happen to run into any movies called The Sound of a Stone, or What About Juvenile Delinquency? My grandfather was in Carnival of Souls as the Organ Factory Boss (Tom McGinnis) and he did a few other films with Herk Harvey. I'm trying to locate as many as I can. Thanks.

Eli

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Poster: Spuzz Date: Oct 14, 2005 7:18am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: About Herk Harvey

What about Juvenile Delinquency can be found here;
http://www.archive.org/details/WhatAbou1955

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Poster: kafuri Date: May 4, 2007 7:02am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: About Herk Harvey

Greetings,

Corrections: As to why the film did not do financially well-This was because Herk lost his ditribution finances entrusting the film to a Fraudulent distribution company thet went belly-up soon after. This genera had 'not'died out, as noted by the success of Candace Hilligoss's subsequent film, " The Curse of the Living Corpse", which did quite well. As for Carnivals style, Herks' intent was to pervey a Cocteau feel, one which went over very well, and was received by fans vaulting into cult status. The surreal and verite aspects of the film wre very European and unique at the time, though it was not a European film, hence the difficulty finding more reputable distributers for the Art Houses (They 'didn't know what to do with it'). Furthermore, the ending, which now seems predictable and common, was revolutionary and original at the time. Without an understanding of these facts, it is very difficult to appreciate Carnival.

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Poster: 2muchtv Date: Sep 13, 2004 11:17am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: About Herk Harvey

I'm going to guess that no one would finance his films. He had the extreme misfortune to master a genre just as it was passing out of style, financially.

It seems to me that the independent industrial films he made were being dropped in favor of the institutional products, where Centron was supplanted by Bell Labs (Hemo the Magnificent, etc.) Encyclopedia Britannica Films and even Walt Disney's Buena Vista Productions.

Carnival of Souls might be the "last horror movie" as Sci-Fi was pushing Horror aside by then, riding high on the late 1950s boom, UFOs, nuclear angst and technology’s dominant role in society.

My two cents

This post was modified by 2muchtv on 2004-09-13 18:16:54

This post was modified by 2muchtv on 2004-09-13 18:17:31

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Poster: ridetheory Date: Sep 12, 2004 1:28pm
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: About Herk Harvey

I guess Carnival of Souls qualifies as a "horror" film, but I think of it as a low-budget art film, which just happened to be in the horror genre because that would draw people into the theater.

Having seen a couple of the Centron films now, I'm shocked that Carnival of Souls was any good at all. Most of the Centron films aged into camp very well, but taken on their technical merits, they are bo-ring! When Herk Harvey had the chance to do exactly what he wanted instead of what the industrial films demanded, he really cut loose and delivered a very clever film. It's too bad he only made one feature.

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Poster: A/V Geek Skip Date: Sep 14, 2004 1:39am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: About Herk Harvey

Regarding Centron's involvement with industrial and educational films. They were very successful in the industrial film field.

Jim Stringer, who did music and sound engineering for Centron in the late 70s and 80s, said that Centron made most of their money doing industrial films for big corporations. "Shake Hands with Danger" is an example of such a film - part of series of safety films that they did for Caterpillar.

Skip

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Poster: LarryvilleGirl Date: Dec 20, 2004 2:01am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: About Herk Harvey

Centron Educational Films made the lions share in the 80s.

This post was modified by LarryvilleGirl on 2004-12-20 10:01:02

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Poster: ridetheory Date: Sep 14, 2004 11:49am
Forum: movie_of_the_week Subject: Re: About Herk Harvey

Either Shake Hands with Danger or something very similar is one of the bonus features on the DVD of Carnival of Souls.